Community residents are excited that Brooklyn’s second public loo could be in Columbus Park — but, lo!, not in such a public place.
At the Community Board 2 parks committee monthly meeting last night, members voted 5-2 to approve a city proposal to bring an automatic pay toilet to Columbus Park, but with the caveat that it be moved — if possible — from its proposed site. Currently, the Department of Transportation suggests plopping down the 12-foot-by-seven-foot toilet station in the paved plaza just north of Montague Street.
“It’s right in the middle of where everyone walks,” said Nancy Wolf, who vehemently opposed the location. “It’s just terrible.”
The committee chairman, Andrew Lastowecky, noted that the toilets are maintained through advertising revenue, and he suspects that the city would want it in such a heavily trafficked spot. (The 25-cent usage fee helps with operating costs, too.)
Community Board 2 chair John Dew even chimed into the fight: “I don’t think there’s an ideal location at all, but we can’t determine where it’s going to go. It is what it’s going to be.”
Nothing is set in stone yet, a Transportation Department spokeswoman said. The city’s Public Design Commission must first approve the project, and a meeting is scheduled in the near future. The toilets are part of a city plan to install new newsstands, bus stops, newspaper racks, and 20 public toilets throughout the five boroughs.
There is already a public toilet installed in Madison Square Park, should you want to check it out. In the meantime, here is what we can (maybe) look forward to, as per a city press release:
Like all of the new [Cemusa] street furniture, the APT’s have a simple, contemporary design, created for the City by Grimshaw Architects, incorporating stainless steel and tempered glass. The APTs clean themselves after each use, and tamper-proof automatic doors that open from the inside will ensure security.
The APTs cost 25 cents to operate, with a time limit of 15 minutes and will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each APT is climate-controlled and includes a toilet, a washbasin with running warm water, and a mirror. An automated system controls the door and prevents unauthorized entrance, and the APTs are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
After 12 minutes of use, an acoustic alarm and red flashing lights go off for three minutes before the door opens. Once a user has exited, the APT doors will close and the 90-second automatic cleaning cycle will begin. During the cleaning cycle the interior surfaces of the APT are cleaned and dried. Once the self-cleaning process is complete, a new user can access the APT.